Sometimes, politics just stinks. Amid all the infighting, negative ads, and transparent false promises, it’s easy to become disillusioned with the entire process. Occasionally, I just want to curl up in my snuggie with a cut of hot chocolate and watch an all-day marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Sometimes, I do just that. However, once I’ve had my fill of shallow infighting and staged reality TV, I jump right back into the political battle. Unfortunately, many Americans are so disillusioned with the political process that no amount of Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe can ease their gripes. In their anger, frustration, or helplessness, many people claim that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are one-and-the-same and vow to either vote third party or not vote at all. While I understand the frustration, this claim is simply not true. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney promise vastly different futures. We should not let frustration with the political process get in the way of educating ourselves before we enter a voting booth.

Sure, Obama and Romney are both politicians. They both participate in negative campaigning and they both have their fair share of gaffes. However, policy-wise, the two men could not be more different. In the area of abortion, President Obama has been endorsed by NARAL, the “National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws,” because of his long-standing pro-choice record. Conversely, Mitt Romney was deemed “Anti-Choice” by the same organization, or as I like to say, “pro-life.” Sure Mitt Romney was not always so conservative on the issue of abortion, but in the last several years, he has moved further to the right, going so far as speaking in favor of the repeal of Row v. Wade.

The differences certainly don’t stop there. Some conservatives are uneasy with the passage of Romneycare in Massachusetts under the former governor’s watch, and rightfully so. However, Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal Obamacare, which is a horse of a different color. Romneycare was a state-run program passed in a liberal state with a Democratic legislature. Obamacare’s size a scope is far more damaging to the nation than one state’s healthcare system. If Massachusetts citizens are uncomfortable with Romneycare, they can move to a neighboring state. If Americans are uncomfortable with Obamacare, they have no choice but to move to a difference country, many of whom already have socialized medicine systems. The bottom line is that while Obama is still touting the Affordable Care Act as the most important accomplishment of his presidency, Mitt Romney strongly disagrees.

Let’s talk about taxes. Mitt Romney claims to want our tax system to be “Fairer, Flatter and Simpler. He proposes to make permanent, “across-the board” 20 percent cut in marginal rates for individuals, eliminate the death tax, and eliminate a burdensome tax system that discourages entrepreneurship. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is still pushing the “Buffet Rule” while claiming that the rich should pay their “fair share.” If you want more information, I encourage to look at both of the candidates’ records and their plans online. Side note: Many claim that Mitt Romney has not yet released his economic plan. Not so. He has specifics laid out on his website. Barack Obama too has a section for “issues” on his campaign’s site, but it’s actually far less descriptive than his opponent’s. Interesting.

You get the picture. I could go on and on about every single issue, but it’s clear that both candidates are starkly different in many ways. To say that you’re faced with a “lesser of two evils” choice this November is simply naive. You’re not taking the time to truly do your research. I believe Mitt Romney will provide this nation the opportunity for prosperity in the future while Barack Obama will continue his tax and spend policies of the last 4 years. So, please, don’t become disillusioned. It’s our future on the line and we owe it to ourselves and our children to truly do our research on all of the candidates at every level. Take a look at their records and read their proposed policies. Don’t escape into the vortex of reality TV if you feel overwhelmed, at least not for too long. Use these next few months to truly get yourself educated. Don’t worry, the Kardashians will be around for a long time. Well. Perhaps you should worry, but that’s an entirely different story.

Amy Lutz | St. Louis University | @AmyLutz4